It has been almost two months since Oregon’s Marcus Mariota took home the 80th Heisman Trophy in New York. Naturally, the race for the 81st Heisman has already begun. On Monday Bovada unveiled its Heisman Trophy odds for the 2015 season, and the list included a few surprises.
Bovada’s complete list of 2015 Heisman odds is below.
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB
Leonard Fournette, LSU RB
Trevone Boykin, TCU QB
Cody Kessler, USC QB
Nick Chubb, Georgia RB
Paul Perkins, UCLA RB
Derrick Henry, Alabama RB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma RB
Cardale Jones, Ohio State QB
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB
Braxton Miller, Ohio State QB
Connor Cook, Michigan State QB
Josh Robinson, Mississippi State RB
Corey Clement, Wisconsin RB
D.J. Foster, Arizona State RB
Royce Freeman, Oregon RB
Brad Kaaya, Miami QB
Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB
Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB
James Conner, Pittsburgh RB
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech QB
Nick Wilson, Arizona RB
Seth Russell, Baylor QB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State QB
Jacoby Brissett, NC State QB
Jalen Hurd, Tennessee RB
Jared Goff, California QB
Marquise Williams, North Carolina QB
Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss WR
Scooby Wright, Arizona LB
SI.com offered its way-too-early Heisman Watch earlier this month, but here are a few thoughts on the latest Heisman odds:
Elliott’s spot atop the list is intriguing for two reasons. First, since 2000 only one back -- Alabama’s Mark Ingram ('09) -- has won the Heisman. (Reggie Bush’s '05 win was vacated due to NCAA violations.) Second, whichever player emerges as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback is expected to steal the spotlight in '15.
But it’s hard to argue with Elliott’s momentum: He ran for 696 yards and eight touchdowns in Ohio State’s last three games. He could be set for big things.
• Speaking of Ohio State quarterbacks, Cardale Jones holds the best Heisman odds of that well-documented group. Jones, who started the Buckeyes’ final three games, sits at 14/1, just ahead of J.T. Barrett (16/1) and Braxton Miller (18/1).
Very little separates Ohio State’s three quarterbacks in the eyes of Las Vegas, which makes sense. After all, no one knows which of the three will emerge as the Buckeyes’ starter. Vegas is giving a slight nod to Jones, who threw for 242 yards in Ohio State’s 42-20 win over Oregon in the national title game.
• The most overrated player on Bovada’s list? I’ll say UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who sits at 12/1 odds. That’s ahead of Alabama's Derrick Henry (14/1), Florida State's Dalvin Cook (33/1) and Clemson's Deshaun Watson (33/1). Perkins’ odds are the same as Georgia running back Nick Chubb’s.
The Bruins back enjoyed a solid year in 2014, running for 1,575 yards with nine scores. But is anyone expecting him to overshadow guys like Chubb and Henry? The Bruins will break in a new quarterback next fall to replace Brett Hundley, so perhaps many assume Perkins could have a breakout year. But Henry and Chubb should enter the season with more headlines.
• The top-rated quarterback on Bovada’s list is Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, who is tied with LSU tailback Leonard Fournette (7/1) for the second-best odds of any player. Prescott was a dark-horse Heisman candidate entering 2014 and put up one of the best seasons ever for a Bulldogs quarterback, setting 12 single-season program records. But losses to Alabama and Ole Miss shattered his hopes.
Prescott could certainly be better in 2014, but will Mississippi State? It is set to return just nine starters, the fewest in the SEC. That’s why it’s surprising to see Prescott ranked ahead of TCU’s Trevone Boykin (15/2) and Watson (33/1), both of whom return a lot of offensive talent.
• Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (66/1) is the only defensive player on the list. The Bronko Nagurski Award winner entered 2014 as an unknown, but blasted on to the scene with 163 total tackles, including 29 for loss. Defensive players need serious name recognition to contend in the Heisman race, and Wright is probably the only player with the profile to earn early consideration in '15.
• A number of dark-horse Heisman contenders round out Bovada’s list, but Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd might be the most intriguing. The 50/1 pick is a former five-star prospect who ran for 899 yards with five touchdowns in 2014, but ended the year with 122 yards and two scores in a bowl win over Iowa.
Hurd is one of 10 returning starters on the Volunteers’ offense. Keep an eye on his stock if Tennessee surprises in the SEC East.